Where do good board members come from? Some of the best board members are actually recruited by existing members of a board of directors. Sure, there are those who find their way to the board by their own passion and commitment, AND executive directors and executive staff often play a role in finding board members, but current board members can be the best ambassadors for attracting new energy.
A strong and functional board of directors needs to be one that is always growing'”both in the skills and dedication of existing board members and in the addition of new individuals. While most nonprofit organizations have a minimum and maximum number of board members that their by-laws allow, it is quite common for most nonprofit organizations to operate close to the minimum'”only putting energy into board development when it becomes absolutely necessary. Ongoing recruitment and growth planning makes more sense.
Encourage board members to consider the people who move in all their spheres of influence. What this means is that people they work with, go to church with, friends, and even neighbors, colleagues and friends of friends, are all potential and possible board members. Give board members the tools to feel confident recruiting new members: job descriptions for a board position, information about the mission and goals of the organization, and clear expectations for what the job and commitment entails'”this way they can be honest and enthusiastic ambassadors for potential new members.
It can also be helpful to create a system for board recruitment: a monthly luncheon or happy hour where board members can invite friends and colleagues to introduce them to the organization, or an annual (or quarterly) event rewarding and supporting volunteers where board members can introduce possible recruits to the inner workings of the organization. These are both great ways to provide an easy way for board members to “band together” instead of feeling as though they are all alone. There can be confidence in numbers and if the board of directors is able to create a culture of recruitment and support each other, then they will likely be more successful in continuing to grow the board with new, energetic individuals.